As we started this alphabet challenge, we knew there would be several letters, E included, that would be real head scratchers. In reality, the suspense leading up to the unveiling of each bottle has been almost as fun as drinking the wine. For the letter E, we wondered, was it going to be a region? Or, was it going to be a varietal? Would it be a red or a white? We awaited the big reveal, and then the big announcement arrived — Erbaluce from the Piedmont region of Italy!
I have never heard of this wine before, and as I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts, the Piedmont region is one of my favorites. So, how could I have missed this before? However, trying unique selections and being surprised is the value of this wine challenge, so I was eager to pop the cork.
A very tiny region at the foot of the Alps, the Erbaluce di Caluso appellation sits in the shadow of the towering Mont Blanc and produces a variety of styles—from dry to sweet to sparkling—similar to Chenin Blanc, which was our C wine. It is a thick-skinned grape that produces wines with shimmering acidity.
The bottle we had was the 2018 Ferrando Erbaluce di Caluso La Torrazza. Luigi Ferrando, a leading producer of wine from this region, comes from a family who has made wine since 1900. The hay-colored wine had an austere nose that didn’t fully reveal how it would show up on the palate. After a sip was taken and swirled around on the tongue, the acidity made its presence known. What I wasn’t expecting was the honeycomb finish, which balanced the acidity and made it pair well with a round of my favorite cheese, the triple cream MT TAM from Cowgirl Creamery.
This one may be harder to find, so if you want to give it a try, I would check with more specialty wine retailers, particularly those who specialize in varietals from Italy. Or, a good alternative that has a similar profile is Chenin Blanc.